Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 8 of Lent 2020

Luke 20:19-20

19 The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people. 20 Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be honest. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor.

Ray 2020Today is day 9 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope you are keeping up – if not – another day off in the reading plan is coming so you will have a chance to catch up. Today’s reading is another parable.

Parables are stories that Jesus used to share essential truths. Parables are not usually real life stories – yet they tell a real life truth. They are great examples of putting the Scripture to work – an application of the word of truth in our lives.

What does this parable say to us this morning? The verses I picked from today’s reading remind us that the teachers of the law and the chief priests were out to get Jesus – because He taught with such authority and they feared Him. God bless you as we walk with Jesus to the Cross of Calvary! Continue reading

March 5, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Prayer | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Suffering for Our Faith for Jesus

1 Peter 4:12-13

12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

img_0063-2Of course Peter was writing to a persecuted church – a church that was being arrested for their expression of faith – beaten – at times thrown to the lions – crucified in arenas for sport – forced to battle gladiators to the death. Peter was trying to assure them that their suffering would be for just a little while. Here is more of his writing.

1 Peter 4:1-13 – 1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. 2 As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do — living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. 7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.  12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. Continue reading

February 7, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Do Not Walk Alone!

2 Timothy 4:17

But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amHave you ever been in a tough place because of your faith? A place where the enemy was out to get you? A place where those around you were beating on you – seemingly from all angles? A place where there seemed to be no way to safety? I would imagine we have all faced such times. We recently talked about witnessing our faith in our Bible studies and when we do so in an unsaved world – we will come under attack. Remember the words from yesterday’s devotion and from our Lord – John 15:18 – If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

When I think of being attacked for my faith I think of the stories in the Bible of Daniel and of Shadrach – Meshach and Abednego. Daniel was thrown into a Lion’s den – a den filled with very hungry lions! The three boys were thrown into a fiery furnace – so hot that the heat killed those taking them to the furnace. Each time it was because they were being faithful to God and wouldn’t disobey Him. Each time God delivered them – or as Paul writes – stood at my side and gave me strength. Continue reading

September 12, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Never Forget! 9-11-01

John 15:18

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amToday – as a nation – we remember 9-11. Where were you on that Tuesday morning 18 years ago? What are your thoughts – today – about 9-11? Is it still etched in your memory? Did you shed some tears this morning remembering that day? I know I did.

Did you know anyone who lost their life on that day? A lot of people lost their lives that day as a result of the radical Islamic terrorist attack on the USA.

I was pastoring at Mt. Zion Church and remember the horror of the day as it unfolded for sure. We had people working in the Pentagon and I remember hearing from some of them and heading out to be with their families. I remember going to the area High School and being with the son of a friend of mine who was in the Pentagon. It was a horrific day – a day I will always remember. Continue reading

September 11, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finding Peace In a Noisy World

John 16:33

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

June 2019This is a little different take on the same passage from yesterday. One of the blessings of having a hearing loss is I can put my good ear down on the pillow at bedtime. If people are in the other room talking and I want to get to sleep – I simply place my good ear on the pillow and off to sleep I go. There is a peace and quiet – no matter what is going on around me. It might be why I could fall asleep anywhere as a child – with my parents and others talking up a storm in the same room. I would simply put my good ear down on the floor or a pillow and I could find my happy place – a quiet place to fall asleep. At times I can stay asleep in the morning while others are up and about (even with a bad ear – I have a hard time staying asleep when the wife’s dog goes off though).

My Facebook feed is normally filled with pictures and stories of folks I know that have found peace in one place or another. A while back – a friend – with a foot and lower leg in a cast – shared a picture of him cutting grass on his John Deere – cast in a plastic bag! I know what he meant. When I had my two shoulder surgeries in back to back winters – I couldn’t wait till I could cut my grass. Something about doing something mindless and in the outdoors – is so stress relieving. Some people share pictures of mountain sunsets – beach sunrises – quiet waters – peaceful golf courses – baby animals – mountain top views and more. People enjoying their relaxing time – some quiet time – away from their work and the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives. Where is your happy place? Where would you go to find peace and quiet? Continue reading

August 6, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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